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Good shower heads for low water pressure

Posted by lynne_melb (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 30, 06 at 21:34

Hi,
We are living in an area with low water pressure. Can anyone recommend some good shower heads for this condition? Thanks,
Lynne


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Good shower heads for low water pressure

Lynne,
The solution to low water pressure is to establish sufficient water pressure. You have not given specifics, but plumbing fixtures are not designed for inadequate conditions. Your best next move would be to determine what pressure you have, and why. Then, if modification is needed, do that.

Once that is in good order, you should enjoy the benefits of standard consumer grade plumbing fixtures.

Pinoke


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RE: Good shower heads for low water pressure

Have you ever wondered why they don't install a pressure guage on a potable water distribution system that is supplied from a municipal main? Its because most homeowners would panic if they say the static pressure (at rest pressure when all faucetts and valves are closed) fall to Dynamic Pressure (working pressure under flow) when a faucett is turned on.

The International Residential Code requires a minimum of 40psi static head pressure while the Uniform Plumbing Code only requires 15psi minimum.

The codes then give us tables of what the minimum permissible Dynamic Head Pressure may be at the different fixtures in the home and most people would be shocked to see the list.
Ref: IRC table T-2903.1
Bathtub 4gal/min @ 8psi
shower 3gal/min @ 8psi
shower (temp.controlled) 3gal/min @ 20psi
lavatory 2gal/min @ 8psi
Water closet(tank type) 3gal/min @ 8psi
kitchen sink 2.5gal/min @ 8psi

Pressure is one of the most misunderstood concepts in all of plumbing. Most people equate the force of the water hitting your skin in the shower as a result of pressure, but nothing could be further from the truth. Pressure is the propelling force that moves the water through the pipes but the moment the water exits the faucett or shower head the pressure drops to standard atmospheric pressure (0 psig). Don't believe it? Then consider this fact. In a fluid pressure is exerted equally in all directions. Now try an experiment for yourself. Hold your finger tight against the tip of the lavatory faucett and turn the faucett on full forcr. The water will squeeze past your finger and spray against a wall 10 or 15 feet away.

Now remove your finger and visually examine the stream from the tip, is it expanding sideways? NO? Why not? Because as we already stated the laws of physics dictate that pressure is exerted equally in all direction in a fluid therefore if there was pressure in the water it should be expanding sideways as well as flowing down.

Now try this, hold your finger in the water stream an inch below the faucett tip. Is the water spraying against the wall like it did when you confined the pressure at the spout tip? No, the water is hitting your finger and flowing around it and down to the bowl because there is no pressure at that point.

Once the water leaves the faucett or shower head it is no longer propelled by pressure but instead it is propelled by a combination of gravity and inertial force. (force equals mass x velocity).

The actual volume of flow is regulated by the size of the orifice in the faucett or mixing valve (unless the shower head is fitted with a flow restrictor).

We all think of rain as being gentle yet a rain drop is falling at terminal velocity (120mph) when it hits us; of course a raindrop has a very small mass (weight) in proportion to its volume thus it produces a light force when it hits.

When selecting a shower head keep in mind that the rate of flow is nearly equal through all shower heads (2.5gpm). If you have a large shower head with a large number of large holes you get a gentle rain spray effect.

Reduce the size of the holes and the velocity of flow must increase through the holes to compensate and still maintain the same rate of flow.

Go in any hardware store and look in the section with the generic plumbing parts and you will find a very small solid brass shower head, about 1" in diameter and it has one ring of needle sized holes. (cost about $4). Most people seeing it laugh at that little cheapie. How can anything that small and that cheap be any good you say? Well, if you like the feel of a strong force of water against your skin I can promise you, that little cheapie rivals a pressure washer nozzle in use. (It was actually originally designed for one of the major motel chains because they we tired of getting complaints about no water pressure in the showers.)


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RE: Good shower heads for low water pressure

I agree about the shower head design. I've used the Europa brand, now available at Lowe's hanging in a blister pack with the plumbing replacement parts, since 1989. Cost is under $10.

And, just to clarify something, water drops cannot achieve the same terminal velocity as a human pointed straight down. Without getting into the physics of it, because of the size of a raindrop, it falls to earth more like a BB dropping through water. That's why fog droplets, which are much smaller than the smallest raindrop, seem to never hit the ground. They are more like a BB falling through shampoo. This is also why tiny insects can fly with tiny flat wings. I'm just guessing but the terminal velocity of a hard rain might be 10 mph. The velocity out of a shower head might be 15 to 20 mph.


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RE: Good shower heads for low water pressure

I've noticed that using the pulsating function on our shower head makes it feel like there's more pressure (probably because of what has been said above). Are you on city or well water?


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RE: Good shower heads for low water pressure

Thanks everyone.


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RE: Good shower heads for low water pressure

Based on the wording of your post, you are on a municipal water supply and are under the impression that there is nothing you can do about it.

Wrong.

There is a solution for you but it will cost more than a showerhead. However, in the overall scheme of things, the cost is well worth it because low water pressure is a total PITA for a lot of reasons. Your washing machine, dishwasher and toilets all fill slowly as does your bathtub and sink. Outside, your garden hose is practically useless.

The answer to your problem lies with the simple installation of a pressure boosting pump. Turn off your water supply at the point of entry to your home. Find a convenient spot in the water pipe coming from the water meter and cut it in half. Mount the pump and make the inlet and outlet connections to the pump. Plug the pump into a convenient outlet or install that outlet if one isn't close by.

That's it. This pump will only come on when you open a tap or flush the toilet. The second that the tap is closed or the toilet is filled, the pump shuts off. You will be amazed at the difference this pump will make to your water pressure and to your lives.

The link will take you to the manufacturer's site.

Go to ebay.com and put this number into the search box.

7572033997

You can get this pump shipped to your door for less than $400.00.

Last year, I told someone on the Tool Box forum about this pump. He put one in and he couldn't thank me enough. His water pressure was so bad, it was creating problems in his marriage.

Here is a link that might be useful: Grundfos MQ pumps


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RE: Good shower heads for low water pressure

Walter, Castoff, thanks so much.

We only observe the problem when taking a shower in the bathroom that is farthest from the water supply, so we are going to try the showerhead approach.

Walter, my husband talked to the people at takeashower.com and he was very impressed with the people and the products. He placed an order today, and it should arrive by mid-week, which is perfect timing. Thanks so much. I'll let you know what we think of them.

We came from a suburb of Chicago, and I guess we were spoiled by the quality of the water and the water pressure. My family has lived in a variety of places in central Florida and the pressure has been bad in all of them.

Thanks,
Lynne


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RE: Good shower heads for low water pressure

Lynne,
By all means, give that showerhead a try. If you are happy with the results, then it's a cheap fix.

However IMHO, all it will do is restrict the flow and give you water out of smaller and/or fewer holes. In truth, it doesn't really solve your problem because the real problem is both a lack of pressure and a resulting lack of volume.

The booster pump increases the volume of water availabe to all the appliances in your home. Water volume is what allows you to rinse the shampoo out of your hair quickly and rinse the soap off your body equally as fast. No lo-flo shower head is going to fix that problem.

It's the difference between dumping a five gallon bucket of water over yourself instead of a glassful at a time. Both will get the job done. It's all about the time factor.


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RE: Good shower heads for low water pressure

We bought 2 handheld and 1 rain shower head from the takeashower.com site. We are delighted with the products, which is a wonder, because DH is quite persnickety. Thanks to all, especially Walter Johnson.
Lynne


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RE: Good shower heads for low water pressure

I've been quite happy with a shower head from a company called Whedon. They make two models a "low-flow" and an "ultra-low flow", both worked great with our lower pressure/flow water from our well. We're no longer on a well, but still use these shower heads, since they're aerated and give you a really good shower at a low flow.

I've now seen these at Ace Hardware stores as well. They're priced anywhere from $10-20, depending on where you get them.

-Roger


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RE: Good shower heads for low water pressure

I have heard that several of the "low-flow" shower heads designed to cut your water usage will also provide the extra boost that makes a lower flow feel more powerful.

These shower heads don't cut the flow by any percentage, so if the flow is slow anyway, it won't make it slower. It'll just make it feel stronger.

GreatGear.com has reviews of several of these.


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RE: Good shower heads for low water pressure

Yes - both Whedon and Alsons 652 make a similar product. The Alsons is called the "Incredible" shower head. Both are under $14. The Whedon is at the ACE hardware store. I think the Whedon is the exact same one that Lazypup is talking about. I also went to my plumbing supply today - they don't even have them on display with the other heads - you have to ask for them since they keep them all in a box and plumbers know to ask for them. It cost $4.99 at the plumbing store.

It is solid brass with chrome plating and very small (about 3/4" diameter and 2 inches long including the nut part).
They are $13 at my local ACE and the guy didn't even know they had them - they were on the rack nearby the hugs shower heads. I got the "deluxe" one which is slightly larger because it has a push button that lets you temporarily turn the water to a trickle to lather and then push it again to get full flow.

p.s. it's getting really tiring all of these "carefully" placed takeashower.com shower head ads in all the different forums. what a con. they sometimes even make 2 different email addresses and act like they are talking to each other. Sometimes, they just copy and paste the same paragraph but change the city/state and the name of the person and put it on different websites. you will notice that not a single person recommended takeashower and only recommended heads that cost under $15 that you can get at your local hardware/plumbing supply. Yet somehow the product placement was put in by the poster.

Here is a link that might be useful: Alsons 652 shower head for about $9


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RE: Good shower heads for low water pressure

I have low water pressure as well. I'm on a well. I use the shower head that is in the link. It works fantastic.

Here is a link that might be useful: Takeashower Shower heads for low water pressure


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RE: Good shower heads for low water pressure

Here is a photo of the little shower head I mentioned above. I don't have a clue what the mfg name is, but I know you can find them in nearly every hardware store, generally just hanging in a little bag on the generic parts rack or sometimes you have to ask a stock clerk and they have them in a box at the counter.

They are generally about $5 to $10 and I guarantee they don't look like much at the store, but I personally wouldn't be without one.

Photobucket


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RE: Good shower heads for low water pressure

I agree with regards to all of the takeashower.com ads, I tried to order a shower head from them and just because I asked them for a tracking number, they cancelled my order and issued me a refund. Well, when that door slammed, I found this forum and I will try one of the shower heads that was recommended from ACE hardware, and it should save me about $70 as well!


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